September 13th, 2006

Hiding in Plain Sight

In the guise of researching an on-spec piece I’m working on, I surfed over to www.technorati.com today and picked up some startling stats:

 

· 75,000 new blogs are created each day

· An average of 50,000 blog updates are posted every hour

 

It’s tough to wrap my mind around. (Which reminds me of a literary agent blog entry I read recently, in which the phrase “to wrap one’s mind around something” was one of her pet peeves. I, on the other hand, like envisioning my gray matter struggling to envelop and absorb sharp, pointy concepts like a starving octopus wrestling with a discarded beer bottle.)

 

Seventy-five thousand new efforts—every single day—to tell the world who you are. Fifty thousand attempts—every hour of the day—to continue telling that story. And why? What is the sound of an unread blog floating in cyberspace? (That’s why I mosey over to my blog periodically to enjoy past entries. At least then my little journal won’t get too lonely.)

 

I read a few entries of a terrifying blog once—there are some weird people out there, you know?—that were written in second person. Angry second person. So angry and so weird that even I couldn’t bring myself to devote much time to analysis and interpretation of it.

 

I read another blog in which the writer’s bio included this amazing phrase: “... and I wish I had my old boyfriend back.” Wow, huh? I still can’t decide if that’s bravado or desperation or just the naked honesty we’re supposed to expect from our anonymous online interactions.

 

And I guess that’s the point. A journal is a record of the writer’s innermost thoughts, her secret heart, her true self. Whether hand-scribbled or posted online. Unless—ah, there’s the rub—unless the writer is donning a persona. Putting on a show for the reader, present or future.  

 

It’s all fine and good to think about millions of bloggers typing to a different drummer, and surely some truth has to shine through those countless lines of text and code. But the internet is a shield, too, protecting the blogger’s exposed heart even while providing a forum for it. Where truth ends and persona begins is any reader’s guess.

 

Well! I guess this means it’s time to grab some fluffy middle-grade novels and re-caffeinate. Apologies for the excessive earnestness—it won’t happen again. (Not for a while, anyway.)